Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nutrition Facts for the less Educated – and the Scriptures


Over the past couple of centuries or so there has been much poverty in large parts of India. There has been some poverty reduction recently but it still continues in the rural hinterland. One effect of poverty is near or total illiteracy, another is poor nutrition.

The Lord has been kind in seeding our planet with much grass and this is the direct or indirect source of food for many animals and humans that live on the planet. Sugar, Wheat, Rice, Corn etc. all come from grass. Because of its abundance wheat is also one of the cheapest sources of food. Therefore the diet of poor rural persons around my area primarily consists of unleavened bread. When such persons come into the city they make good money nowadays, but human habits persist and they tend to continue with the same sort of diet they ate in their villages. This is where I have to intervene and explain to such persons  the importance of proper nutrition along with some nutrition facts.

If one were to try and teach an illiterate person about carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and so on it would go over their head. A simpler explanation has been developed by me. I tell them that although bread will appease hunger and give them the capacity to work it will not help any more. They need an egg a day and some milk, about a quarter of liter of it daily to make their flesh and bones. Further, vegetables are required to make blood the best being leafy green ones such as spinach and goosefoot that is plentiful in India. In addition, to get the strength to digest all this properly something raw like onions, carrots or a bit of fruit is required (for the live enzymes). This simple explanation, albeit highly approximate, works quite well and those who follow this simple prescription (such as the village lad Hari described in a couple earlier posts) put on some weight and develop a healthy rosy color in a matter of weeks as any laboring person who has a nutritious diet would tend to.

My simple explanations although inaccurate serves the purpose and this makes me realize that mystics of lore must have been doing something similar when they described the spiritual side of the universe to mankind. Thus when a scripture describes that early on in creation the darkness was separated from light some modern humans tend to laugh at this. However, the fact is that most advanced modern explanations for creation include the separation of photons (light) from antiphotons (darkness) as a primary step in creation. Thus when it is said that Eve was created from a bit of the rib of Adam that too makes eminent genetic sense. It would have been just as useless to tell the early human or even many modern ones that the male contains both the X and Y chromosome and it is the Y bit from this that creates the female, as it would be to tell Hari that trace elements such as iodine are required for a certain hormone in his body. Yet when Hari accepts my simple explanation with faith he benefits.

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